Sheriff Calls for Designated Drivers on Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl 52 will be played Sunday, Feb. 4, and the Somerset County Sheriff's Office has put plans in place to keep our community safe from drunk and distracted drivers during this annual event.


Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano has announced that the Sheriff's Office DWI Enforcement Team will be patrolling the roads of Somerset County. "With help from the community, we are working together to promote the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers aimed at encouraging safe and sober driving during the Super Bowl game," he said.

Restaurants Willie McBride's in Branchburg and Big Heads Pub in Hillsborough, as well as Bridgewater car dealerships Bridgewater Lexus, Bridgewater BMW, Open Road Volkswagen and Open Road Mercedes Auto Group, are handing out HERO Campaign brochures and magnets.

"Many people will be attending parties with their friends at private residences or going to local bars or restaurants to watch the Super Bowl," Sheriff Provenzano said. "If you plan to drink alcohol, make sure you have a good plan to ensure a safe return trip. That starts with designating a driver who will not be drinking. By planning ahead, you can protect yourself, your family, friends and other drivers from tragic loss of life on the road."

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving is a serious problem with severe consequences:

  • In 2016, there were 10,497 people killed in these preventable crashes. In fact, on average over the 10-year period from 2006-2016, more than 10,000 people died every year in drunk-driving crashes.
  • In every state, it's illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher, yet one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 50 minutes in the United States in 2016.
  • Drunk drivers face jail time, the loss of their driver's license, higher insurance rates and dozens of other unanticipated expenses ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs and lost wages due to time off from work.
  • The average DUI case costs approximately $10,000.
  • Refusing to take a breath test in many jurisdictions results in immediate arrest, the loss of your driver's license on the spot, and the impoundment of your vehicle. Also, there's the added embarrassment, humiliation and consequences of telling family, friends and employers of your arrest.
  • If you injure or kill someone in a drunk-driving crash, it's something you'll have to live with for the rest of your life.

Bill and Muriel Elliott started the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers in memory of their son, U.S. Navy Ensign John R. Elliott, who was killed in a collision with a drunk driver in July 2000. While at the U.S. Naval Academy, Ensign Elliott was selected as a Human Education Resource Officer to counsel and mentor other members of his company and was named "the outstanding HERO" of his graduating class. He was killed two months after graduation.

Multiple New Jersey agencies will promote the campaign and its message, "Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver," through highway digital message boards, posters in participating bars and restaurants, and thousands of car window decals distributed at the upcoming "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" initiative by the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

"Impaired driving is completely preventable," said Sheriff Provenzano. "All it takes is a little planning. We want the public to remember that it's a choice. Drink responsibly or drive sober - these are good choices. We want to keep people from making a poor choice that harms others and themselves."

For more information, visit www.herocampaign.org or contact Sheriff's Officer Nick Fazio at (908) 231-7140, ext. 9, or fazio@co.somerset.nj.us or Capt. Steve SanAntonio at (908) 231-7168.

Works Cited

Somerset County, New Jersey. (2018, February 1). Sheriff Calls for Designated Drivers on Super Bowl Sunday. Retrieved February 1, 2018, from Somerset County, New Jersey: https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/Home/Components/News/News/2220/



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